OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The year 2010 became 1699 on Ocean Springs Front Beach Sunday afternoon. The city invited Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant to lead the annual reenactment of the landing of Pierre Lemoyne d'Iberville.
The story has roots 300 years deep. In search of the Mississippi River, Frenchman Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville and his crew land on the shores of Ocean Springs and meet the Biloxi Indians.
"I'm a real history buff and I don't think the rest of Mississippi appreciates and understands the importance of this discovery in April of 1699, Bienville and d'Iberville coming ashore here trying to find the mouth of the Mississippi River," said Bryant. "This is a real,a very important day in the history of the United States of America."
Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant played d'Iberville in this year's reenactment before a crowd of thousands that gathered along a park named after the fort d'Iberville built, Fort Maurepas.
"This is actually twice what we usually have," said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran. "Of course, Fort Maurepas has been under construction since Katrina, so this is really our first celebration with the park open."
"When I looked up on that hill when it started, I realized how many are here," said August Taconi, who organized the event. "It was a great feeling."
Bryant said he hopes the crowd will grow year after year as more people come to understand the importance of the celebration.
"I hope we can try to spread that word, let more people know and understand," said Bryant. "I hope that one day we got thousands and thousands of Mississippians on this hill enjoying this moment in Mississippi history."
There's no time to rest for the organizers. The 1699 Historical Society will start planning next year's event soon.
"It starts next week for next year," said Taconi. "It's a lot. It's a short show. Thirty minutes or less than an hour, but the preparation takes a year."
This year's landing also featured other events all weekend including an art festival, a 5-k run, a pet parade and regatta.
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